6 March 2015

Oslo Peace Ring: answering hatred with love...

Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, stated: “There are not enough people who are willing to act against hate and terror.” But, on Saturday 21st February, more than 1,000 Muslims gathered in Oslo (Norway) and formed a symbolic protective ring around the Norwegian capital’s single functioning synagogue to show their support to the Jewish community just four days after the deadly attacks in Copenhagen (Denmark) that killed Danish filmmaker Finn Nørgaard, who was attending a free speech debate, and Dan Uzan, a guard at a Copenhagen synagogue.

In contrast, only 70 people showed up to demonstrate in Oslo at the march organized by the Norwegian Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) a day earlier.

Seven young Norwegian Muslims planned the “Fredens Ring” or Peace Ring in response to the never-ending violence. Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organizers, said that "there’s still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds.”

The Muslim community everywhere in the world has been sharing its feeling of both disappointment and frustration at the hideous crimes and terrorist attacks that have happened recently in the name of Islam. Another of the Peace Ring organisers said she felt “a bit of shame that these people say that they’re Muslims and they go and kill innocent people.” Muslims are also tired of being verbally abused and blamed for terrorism as well as seeing mosques being burnt down.

In a population of 5 million inhabitants, Norway has about 1,000 Jews and about 150,000 Muslims. According to a 2014 poll, both Jewish and Muslim communities are considered to make an important contribution to Norwegian society.

Following the massacre committed by far-right extremist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in July 2011, the then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: “Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity…”